Lack of motivation is more common than you may imagine. Is it preventing you from chasing your dreams? You’re far from alone. Usually, the lack comes from ineffective strategies that were originally aimed at motivating you.
Back when you were a child, did your parents scream at you or criticize you to “motivate” you? You might be doing the same thing to yourself subconsciously now. Whatever the case may be, you need a new way to motivate yourself.
“But I have no motivation to do anything,” you say. That’s not true. You just don’t have a suitable strategy. Your strategy might be backfiring and actually resulting in a lack of motivation. You might not even be aware of what strategy you’re applying.
What is a Word for Lack of Motivation?
There are many words for lack of motivation. One of them is ennui, a sense that we’re tired of life. We have a hard time staying motivated. We feel unwell, but we have no ambition to improve our situation. Sometimes, the poetic term “ennui” conceals depression, a common mental health problem. Around 16.2 million adults in the US suffer from depression. Lack of motivation is a common symptom. Other symptoms include sleeping too much, rapid weight gain or loss, trouble focusing, failing to see the positive in situations, and a poor self-image.
Does ADHD cause lack of motivation?
While we’re on the subject of health problems – ADHD does impact a person’s ability to begin, organize, and sustain motivation to complete tasks. The person may even feel “paralyzed” when they think of a project or task. They want to get going, but just can’t make progress. They start feeling overwhelmed. They avoid the task or procrastinate and have difficulty persisting in cases where they are actually able to begin the task.
Before you jump to conclusions, know that in the vast majority of cases, being unable to stay motivated is due to poor strategies and not illness.
What are the Causes of Poor Motivation?
A number of sources can deplete motivation. Social rejection is one of them. Self-regulating form of behavior is prosocial in nature, and people expect rewards for demonstrating it. When we are rejected, whether in the form of ostracism, criticism, or anything else, we feel we wasted our efforts.
We think, “Why bother trying when no one is going to appreciate it?” Then, we have no motivation to work, study, exercise, or anything else. We become less likely to cooperate and more likely to start abusing alcohol and drugs or engage in other self-destructive behavior. Social rejection leads to loss of self-control.
Another source of low motivation is ignoring your needs. If you lead a busy life like most millennials, it can be tempting to skip a meal or two. Because we’re lacking the energy we need to think properly, we begin having a hard time getting things done. What’s worse, we compensate by overeating and then feel bloated and still not motivated to work.
Having Too Many Options
Although we need options to choose from, there can be too much of a good thing. Having too many decisions to make can result in poor motivation. Positive psychology has the term “decision fatigue”, which may explain why someone who is normally reasonable and calm will lash out without warning, splurge on a new car, or overindulge in unhealthy food. No matter how smart and rational someone is, it’s challenging to have to make decision after decision.
This is not the same as physical exhaustion. Your mental energy is low. The more options you have, the more decisions you have to make most days, and the harder each one becomes. Eventually, our brains start looking for shortcuts, and then people say we are acting in inexplicable ways. Small decisions can have an adverse impact just like major ones. The difference is that having lots of big decisions to make will bring us to the breaking point quicker. Low motivation is the first sign we’re getting there.
How Can I Increase my Motivation?
To restore your motivation, you need to establish the sources of its depletion, which can be one or more of several. In our final section, we outline the most common sources and share 9 secrets to overcoming lack of motivation. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to take action.
1.Take Care of Your Body
Most people are just not taking care of themselves. There is an obvious solution to this. Start by getting the right amount of sleep. It’s between 6 and 8 hours a night for most people. Do at least 15 minutes of exercise a day and eat mindfully, which is to say that when you’re eating, focus on eating. We work, watch TV, or talk while we eat. Opt for nourishing, fresh, and healthy food. Improve your diet by limiting your intake of dairy, gluten, and processed foods, especially if you have stomach problems. Drink less coffee and alcohol where applicable.
2.Break with the Toxic People in your Life
If social rejection is an issue for you, it might be that you’re interacting with toxic people. These are people who are always critical and never have anything positive to say. If your behavior is the legitimate cause of the rejection, talk to the person and look for ways to remedy the situation. If it can’t be remedied, remove yourself from the situation because undeserved, constant social rejection won’t improve your motivation levels.
3.Make a To-Do List of Choices
People normally don’t know when they will need to make choices and decisions. It will help to make a list of choices rather than tasks so you’ll know when you’ll need to make a decision and what on. To avoid having too much to decide at a point in time, split them up over the week. Include even small things like shopping for groceries because this can be stressful, particularly if you’re always doing it in rush hour.
4.Know What you Want to Do
Sometimes, we have no real interest in doing something and that’s why we’re not motivated to do it. Try to figure out what you really want to do. Work on it in small steps. You’ll still be making progress.
5.Find a Good Reason to Do it
The easiest thing in the world is to give up when we can’t find a good reason to complete a task. It’s not so easy to give up important things like our job or a relationship, so the first step is looking for ways to think about them differently. There’s value in almost everything if we think long enough.
Maybe you’re working on a boring project, but you want to build a good reputation at the workplace. Take a brief break now and then, but don’t stop. If you’re having trouble sticking to a healthy diet, tell yourself eating healthy will help increase your productivity and focus at work and that’s a big step in the direction of a promotion.
If your parents want you to do something you don’t feel like doing, motivate yourself by thinking it’s important to them and they mean the world to you.
6.Free Energy Up
With so much to do and so much going on in your life, you’re understandably stressed out. You might lose all remnants of motivation to do something even if you want to. A change of priorities is in order. Free up mental and physical energy by resting, getting some sleep, and de-stressing. Say “no” to things that aren’t central to your top priorities. Meditate or practice mindfulness.
7.Believe in Yourself
Let’s say you know exactly what you want to do. Then, that creeping voice, “Are you sure you can do it? Really sure? Really, really sure? What will happen if…” Slowly, you give in. You start wondering why you’re trying. Seeing is believing, so take a long, hard look at your roster of past achievements. You did it then, didn’t you? So why not now? Back then, you were just as unsure, but you still attained your goals.
To remedy this issue once and for all, replace your limiting beliefs with empowering ones. Most limiting beliefs are the product of the unconscious and stem from our childhood or adolescence. To a great extent, they continue to determine how we perceive ourselves and our capabilities.
These beliefs guide our thoughts and actions. They are like a bad habit we don’t realize we have. They are part of the reasons we don’t accomplish as much as we could. To achieve our goals, we need to tune the negative, nagging voice out. Make an active effort to change your mindset. Repeat empowering mantras to yourself on a daily basis. This will lead to personal growth and give you the confidence you need to take on your goals.
8.Face your Fear
You’re afraid of failure, of success, or of the unknown. You struggle with chronic anxiety and resistance. Get clear about what you are afraid of. Write it down and then work on a specific strategy to cope.
You are unmotivated because you didn’t expect achieving your goals would take so long. You’re thinking about quitting. Understand good things take time, and it’s in hard times that we learn to create. Focus on the process and celebrate the small victories.
We hope these ideas will set you on the road to recovering your motivation. Set a small goal and go from there. With the right support, motivation will find a way.